The transition from cardboard to digital is not always good, or even particularly done well. This was particularly true in the past. Some of the worst games I played on mobile, were renditions of board games, some of which have been since removed from the marketplace.
Today, the choices to take up your time digitally or on the tabletop grow tremendously annually, and the quality of what is being put out is changing dramatically every year, and more succinctly everyday.
Over the last year, MeepleGamers has been quietly amassing as many digital renditions of board games as possible, so that we could give you a brief look at what publishers are doing, and what directions games are going.
Some of these games are fantastic, others, leave a bit to be desired. This can be due to age, and/or not paying the right team to digitize the property. Here below, is a snippet from each. We all truly believe that cardboard and digital are converging, now, that convergence is coming to MeepleGamers
This list is by no means meant to be exhaustive, but it does give you an idea of what games you already know and love are out there waiting for you. You may be one of those people that say you don’t like to play board games on the cell phone. I to some extent understand. What I do really enjoy from these properties though is that since many of them are purchased, there are NO ads. Not all, but many. That is magic to my ears.
Ticket to Ride – Asmodee Digital- TTR, to me, is the GOLD standard in what digital games should be.
The game plays very similarly to the cardboard variant. It allows for solo play against a computer player (as all games should)), seamless multiplayer, asynchronous play (which in online play means both people do not need to be online at the same time) and even chat.
If you only buy one digital rendition of a board game, it should be TTR. Feel free to add us, at meeplegamers.
Catan – Asmodee Digital
Catan is a favorite of so many people to this day. It has its faults, as all games do, but it has aged quite well.
Here, the publisher has gone crazy. They have made Catan, Catan Universe, Catan 3d, and Catan ate my wheaties. Though what I am saying is tongue in cheek, they have decided to bet that Catan still has the following to make the investment worthwhile.
On the 3D side of the equation, I am betting Asmodee Digital is using Catan as a jumping off point for more of their properties. They will have learned so many lessons from having made Catan, that they will be able to implement in other games. I for one, want to Play Scythe 3D, and think this is just the start of what Asmodee Digital has planned.
Catan VR – Asmodee Digital
I had the opportunity to check out Catan VR, last year at PAX unplugged. The Asmodee Digital Team knew they were onto something when both myself and writer Kevin Billman, and probably 100 other outlets could just play it, without much interaction.
The game works, and it is because the original game works so well, and because the design team was so thoughtful in making the manipulation of the pieces work so well. It only works on Oculus and Samsung for now, but maybe we can convince Asmodee Digital that more platforms are needed, like Google Dream.
Onirim – Asmodee Digital – Onirim is a solo card game, that plays online nearly EXACTLY as it does with the cardboard variant.
The art, as in the cardboard, looks great, and seems to be the same or based off the same assets. Again, this is a Asmodee Digital license. You will see this a lot on the digital side of gaming. They are taking over a lot of the gaming digitally, as they have already done in cardboard. There is no reason to expect this to change anytime soon.
Thankfully though, they are treating the art, and games with respect, and vision so far.
Mysterium – Asmodee Digital
Mysterium is a social deduction sleuthing game that plays very well, and allows for online play.
Although I have played through it, I am still not at a point that I feel comfortable giving a buy/no buy recommendation. A full review will follow.
Carcassonne – Asmodee Digital
Carc, is a game that belongs in ANY gamer’s library.
The game looks great. Now, there was a HUGE misstep with the license. Exozet had the game originally it was a pretty decent rendition. The problem is, they lost the license, or it was only for a period of years.
Anyone who purchased the original game, will need to purchase it again, under the Asmodee Digital license.
The new game is graphically great. It plays well, and with expansions, is growing into a fun game. I hope they do the double tile set, and perhaps more expansions that are harder to come by in the FLGS.
I’m playing right now, and maybe you should, find us under meeplegamers.
Splendor – Asmodee Digital
Splendor is a jewel collecting engine game. Simple yet addictive to many.
The game is online capable, though there have been many complaints that the game corrupts easily while online. Sadly, though I want to like it, I have not ever finished a full game, to give you more complete details.
Maquis – Boardnaut Studios
Liberating France has become some historians second hobby. Here you are attempting to prevent the darn Nazi’s from being so Nazi-ish.
It is a solo play, just like the board game, but I use it regularly while flying. I suggest you do the same.
Smash-Up – Asmoded Digital
AEG has the card game that pits two factions together to beat up the opponents smashed up factions.
It plays cross-platform meaning Android to iOS and vice versa. And, does so well currently. Though I am not a fan of the underlying game, I would say the rendition to digital is pretty accurate. Anyone who enjoys the card game, will likely like the digital version, if they like playing games on their phone.
Ascension – Asmodee Digital
This game gets fantastic reviews. I have it, but have not played it enough to give you a very good prognosis.
Coup – Banana & Co.
The game is great, and it’s digital adaptation is pretty decent also. I love the lying the game encourages.
It does not have the great looking in your opponent’s eyes that some games do, but it still works well.
Twilight Struggle – Asmodee Digital
If you think the Bay of Pigs is a rock band from the 90’s, you may want to learn Twilight Struggle, a game that takes on the Cold War.
The war (that had arguably no bullets fired) shaped the world, and the game, shapes many of the games that follow. We may never see the world of spies from the 60’s re-emerge, but we can play through the upper echelon governmental decisions that prevented the end of the world. Though, while playing, you may destroy civilization as we know it.
Mr. Jack Pocket – Asmodee Digital
Mr. Jack is a two player romp through the life of Sherlock Holmes and Jack the Ripper, who we all know was actually Marie Antoinette in cosplay.
Regardless of speculation, the cardboard version is fun. This version started life as a one-player game, and has since been updated to online play. For that reason alone, it was worth the price of admission.
Brass – Cublo Game
Brass is a 18XX game. It is designed beautifully, plays solo, local, or online, asynchronously. I like the depth of play as compared to some 18XX titles, and you cannot match it’s quality build anywhere.
Potion Explosion – Asmodee Digital
If you liked Lorenzo Silva’s Potion Explosion, you will probably like the digital adaptation. It is beautiful.
The downside is, push notifications for online play are rather not great. More than that, on my Pixel 2 XL, it crashes regularly. Asmodee Digital normally has so much polish, but in this instance, they may need to take out the furniture polish and use some elbow grease. With that being said, I still really enjoy the game, when it functions properly.
Colt Express – Asmodee Digital
Trains, robbers, sheriffs, and loot. What could be better?
When the game first came out, it had a few wrinkles to iron out. It has lately been functioning very well, most likely due to the regular updates.
I personally like it a lot. I’m a fan of all things Olde West.
Terra Mystica – Digidiced
I have never been a fan of TM. The game seems much like the cardboard iteration. There have been some complaints about how stable the servers are, but I have not experienced this. As always, you can beat us on this game and others under “meeplegamers”
Evolution – NorthStar
This game just finished a Kickstarter, and is currently only for solo play. It works adequately, but I hope it is updated for online play.
I think like most board games, they are social in nature, and without online play, it may never reap the returns NorthStar wants to see out of it.
Kingdom Builder – Queen Digital
Games like KB are fun. They are euro in build, and have enough interaction to keep me enthralled.
Sadly, KB has not aged well digitally. It does not translate well to all devices, and will randomly make moves that you did not want made. I hope Queen starts focusing more on digital adaptations, I think their cardboard games are great.
Tsuro – Thunderbox Entertainment
I love Tsuro. Calliope Games hit the nail on the head with this property.
The transition to digital is great. It has recently been updated for inline play through Google Play, and I can only presume iOS also (not a iOS household), which is great.
Games should be played with other people.
Race for the Galaxy – Temples Gate Games
Do you like space? Board Games? Board games in space?
The game plays well. Though, what I’m really looking forward to is Roll for the Galaxy.
The Game – Outline Development
A game called the game, how very meta.
It is a game of negotiation, without being able to tell anyone your bottom line. You all win, or more likely all lose together.
The digital version removes the best part of the game. It still works, and is enjoyable to pass the time.
Abalone – Asmodee Digital
Abalone has long been one of my favorite games. It is such a nice abstract, that grows on you, if you allow it. It allows you to work on methods and plans and see how they work.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you about this. I find it sad that “old” games no longer get the attention they deserve. However, they may see new life digitally. Let’s hope!
Pandemic – Asmodee Digital
Pandemic has a magical draw to it. The digitization of it is no different. It is high quality, but lacks online multiplayer. This for me, makes really enjoying it a non-starter.
It is a social game, and lacking that social mechanism kills the fun for me. However, if you are looking for a great solo player, it is great, and also works adequately as a pass and play game on an airplane.